Podtalk, Review: Writer/Director Emerald Fennell Applies the ‘Saltburn’

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CHICAGO – Writer, Director and Actor Emerald Fennell is leading a new revolution of commentary in her feature films. She began with “Promising Young Woman” in 2020 – for which she won an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay – and her follow-up is “Saltburn,” which opened wide last week on November 22nd.

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 4.0/5.0
Rating: 4.0/5.0

Scholarship student Oliver Quick (Barry Keoghan) struggles to find his place as a new student at Oxford. On a chance meeting, he befriends Felix Catton (Jacob Elordi), the most popular, charming, and handsome student in school. When Oliver tells Felix that he has no home to return to for the summer, Felix invites him to his aristocratic family’s country estate, Saltburn. As an outsider drawn into the shimmering world of the eccentric Cattons and their life of excess, Oliver begins to feel at home in this lifestyle, drawing closer to each member of the family. But when his fascination starts to verge on obsession, buried truths are unearthed, and will affect all concerned. “Saltburn” is scheduled for wide release in late November.

Emerald Fennell for ‘Saltburn’ at the 59th Chicago International Film Festival
Photo credit: Joe Arce for HollywoodChicago.com

“Saltburn” is a mixed bag of a film …frustratingly obvious in some places, awkward in others, but possessing an originality about obsession that goes deeper than the surface. Barry Keoghan was willing to go everywhere into his psyche to create Oliver, and uplifts many interactive emotions with the situations Oliver puts himself into. The supporting cast shines, especially Carey Mulligan and Rosamund Pike in key story moments. We’ve all been guilty of building a facade around ourselves, in the pursuit of status or sex. Emerald Fennell just uncovers the “underneath” in Oliver’s loss of reason.

’Saltburn,’ Written and Directed by Emerald Fennell
Photo credit: Amazon/MGM Studios

Emerald Fennell was born in London, and was discovered at Oxford while acting in university plays. Her prominent roles as an actor include he TV series “Call the Midwife” and “The Crown” (as Camilla Parker Bowles), as well as performing in the films “Anna Karenina” (2012) and “The Danish Girl” (2015). She served under producer Phoebe Waller-Bridge (“Fleabag”) in the BBC thriller “Killing Eve” and wrote/directed her debut “Promising Young Woman,” which released in 2020.

In an Podtalk interview with Patrick McDonald of HollywoodChicago.com, Emerald Fennell talks about “Saltburn” and her approach to storytelling …

Trailer, “Saltburn” …

”Saltburn” is currently in theaters. See local listings. Featuring Barry Keoghan, Jacob Elordi, Carey Mulligan, Rosamund Pike and Richard E. Grant. Written and directed by Emerald Fennell. Rated “R”

HollywoodChicago.com senior staff writer Patrick McDonald

Editor and Film Critic/Writer

© 2023 Patrick McDonald, HollywoodChicago.com

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